Wax tags

Wax tags are a useful monitoring tool to detect and monitor possums (and sometimes rats) over medium-to-large areas. It is a plastic tag with a flavoured wax knob attached to it. As with chew cards, the predator is identified by its bite marks.


About

Wax tags should be used before and after possum control to check numbers and activity, and also as an annual survey to see if more control is needed in the area.

Wax tags are non-toxic and also safe for kids and dogs. They can be bought from Pest Control Solutions, Key Industries, or traps.co.nz.

You nail wax tags to trees about a hammer's height off the ground
Image credit: Kerikeri Peninsula Pest Control.

How to use wax tags

  • The number of wax tags required will depend on the size of the area you’re monitoring. 
  • Put out wax tags after 7 consecutive nights of fine weather. Pre-label them with numbers or other ID to help with monitoring.
  • DOC recommends using luminescent strips plus a lure (1 part icing sugar to 5 parts flour) to attract possums at night.
A possum chew on wax
A possum chew. Image credit: Kerikeri Peninsula Pest Control.
  • Mount the wax tag and luminescent strip on the same nail 30 cm above the ground with the wax block facing the ground. If there are no trees, use a post. Take a handful of lure (e.g. smooth peanut butter) and smear it up the trunk or post to make a 10cm-wide path that finishes just before the tag.
  • Use predator tracking apps or other online data management to record any activity. 
  • For the use of wax tags over large areas, see DOC’s ‘A practical guide to trapping’ (PDF, 6.4 MB, pages 26–31).